19 Dec. 2021 9:32 am
The presidential election will take place in Chile today, Sunday. Voters have to choose between a right-wing candidate and a left-wing candidate. Although both candidates are moderate, the country is polarized and nerves are on edge: The outcome of the choice of direction is still completely open.
In Chile, the second round of the presidential election will take place on Sunday – a runoff between a left and an ultra-right candidate. In the first round of the presidential election, the candidate of the conservative and nationalist Republican Party, José Antonio Kast, came first (27.91 percent) and the leftist Gabriel Boric came second (25.82 percent). Surveys see both candidates currently with 50 percent each.
Kast is the youngest son of a first lieutenant in the Wehrmacht and a member of the NSDAP, who initially lived undisturbed in Bavaria after 1945, but, under pressure to denazify, switched to using a false identity. In 1947, presumably with the support of the Vatican, he fled to Argentina and in 1950 moved to Chile, where he made his fortune with the production of Bavarian sausages. Only a few weeks ago his membership in the NSDAP was proven by a membership card found in the Federal Archives.
The now 55-year-old presidential candidate studied law and had been a member of the right-wing Conservative Independent Democratic Union (UDI) for many years, which he represented in the Chilean parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, from 2002 to 2018. He joined the UDI in 2016 and ran for president for the first time as an independent in 2017. At that time he only managed to take fourth place with 7.93 percent. This year’s election campaign, however, brought him within reach of power.
The political program of Kast and his Republican Party, founded in 2019, is described as right-wing populist, conservative values and nationalist. She wants to fight illegal migration more intensely and to this end also erect a border fence on the border with Bolivia. Kast himself is an avowed supporter of Pinochet, but denies his assignment to the extreme right. His election campaign strategy is described by observers as the “campaign of fear”, and Kast also borrows from Donald Trump.
His adversary Boric is only 35 years old and has been an independent member of the Chamber of Deputies since 2014. He is supported by the Frente Amplio, a coalition of left-wing parties, as well as the social democratic Convergencia Social, of which he is the official candidate, and the Communist Party of Chile. He advocates the socialization of production facilities and the strengthening of social rights and the rights of minorities.
The result of the first round of elections came as a shock to the political left in Chile. Since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1990, the candidate who came first in the first ballot has won the runoff election. Boric is increasingly trying to establish himself as a consensus candidate and “reconciler of the nation” and, according to political scientists, is losing the enthusiasm of his more radical supporters. The first results are available from the vote of the Chileans abroad in New Zealand:
Chilean presidential candidate Gabriel Boric beats José Antonio Kast by a landslide at conclusion of the vote count in Auckland, New Zealand, where it’s now just after 7:30pm Sunday. Vote counting was streamed live by Chilean voters like @ocean_lov3 🇨🇱 pic.twitter.com/FRU3E89o03
— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) December 19, 2021
The last phase of the election campaign was accompanied by protests against Kast and clashes between protesters and the police. Since the end of the military dictatorship, Chile has been ruled alternately by socialist and conservative presidents. The current incumbent Conservative Sebastián Piñera could not run again as he is about to end his second term.
Since 2019, Chile has been repeatedly shaken by social protests and unrest.
more on the subject – Thousands celebrate social uprising anniversary in Chile